On this rather dull, grey Saturday we headed out to Elsworth and found ourselves in a rather dull, grey cricket match -- quite a contrast to last week's ``wild west'' excitement with Great Shelford and the previous week's nail-biter against Hardwick/Shepreth II.
Despite the uneven pitch and muggy conditions we once again failed to take an early wicket, the batsmen chancing their arms on a rough pitch and meeting with great success. Both openers made half centuries, but both were dropped (and survived a few mis-hits and near run outs), and the runs flowed like an open wound that never quite clotted. And somehow this made for an excruciatingly boring hour or two's cricket, at least from the fielding point of view, with precious few Romsey highlights to talk about here. Rod Dennis was probably the one real star, getting hands or body in the way of countless pulls on the bumpy square boundary, as well as taking a difficult out-field catch. Tom Jordan (Paul's son) also fielded extremely well, as epitomised by one immaculate throw all the way from the boundary -- I didn't realise eleven year-olds had such range. And John Young (0/24) finally got a bowl, and would have had a wicket in his first over for the club but for yet more inept catching.
We did at least mount some sort of comeback towards the end of the innings, Elsworth scoring just 37/3 from their last 10 overs. Andy Owen (3/27) led the way, finishing off with a superb spell of 4 overs, 1 maiden, 3/3 and, at the other end, Paul Jordan (0/30) was unlucky to go wicketless. All this meant that Elsworth finished on a very chaseable 187/4, but it probably would have been a lot less if we'd gotten rid of the openers as we should have.
Our innings was, if anything, even less exciting than Elsworth's: the degree to which we got bogged down is well illustrated by the fact that one bowler delivered 23 consecutive dot balls at one point. We managed enough boundaries to keep our run-rate at about 4 an over, but also lost regular (if slightly unlucky) wickets: Rod Dennis (15) was bowled off his back leg and then Ev Fox (15) was done by a shooter that cannoned into his stumps about four inches off the ground. We had probably moved into slight favouritism when Tony Desimone (24) and Andy Owen (32*) had accelerated the scoring to about 7 an over before the former fell to one of the best outfield catches we're likely to see this season.
With 10.3 overs remaining we still needed 72 runs, so we were still in the hunt, provided we didn't lose too many more wickets. Unforunately, this claim was never put to the test -- a heavy, if brief, rainstorm rendered the pitch unplayable; despite a succession of inspection parties making sorties to the middle we never made it back onto the field. Ironically it was quite possible that the ten missing overs could have finally provided the excitement that had been lacking from so much of the rest of the game. In the end there was nothing for it but to retire to the local for some cleansing ales (or, in one case, ice-cream).